The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

The Staff of The News 

'Cats baseball finds footing


March 6, 2019

HOBBS — A week that began in forgettable fashion for the Clovis baseball team ended with a building block.

Saturday, the Wildcats earned their first win of the season by rallying to defeat Onate 7-5 at the Hobbs Round Robin Tournament.

Clovis had opened its season with a 20-0 home loss to Lubbock-Coronado last Tuesday, then lost the first two games of the Hobbs Tournament by a combined 24-5 score against Artesia and Cleveland.

But then came Saturday’s breakthrough victory. Something to build on.

“Oh yeah, always getting your first victory is huge for a young team,” Clovis head coach Richard Cruce said. “And we’ll hopefully gain a little confidence going into this weekend.”

The Wildcats (1-3) not only won Saturday, they composed themselves enough for a comeback victory. Onate plated four runs in the top of the first inning, indicating that perhaps another blowout loss was in store for the purple and white.

But not so fast.

“We went down early and the kids actually showed a little bit of grit and they competed their tails off to get back in the ball game,” Cruce said. “We came up with some big hits at the right moment.”

Beginning in the bottom of the second inning. Kaleb Young got Clovis going with a solo homer, and Ian Yruegas followed with a single. Yruegas went all the way to third on an errant pickoff attempt, then scored on Chris Muscato’s single.

Just like that, Clovis had sliced its deficit in half.

The score remained 4-2 until the bottom of the fourth. Again it was Young starting things off, this time by drawing a walk. Yruegas was then safe on a fielder’s choice and when Norbert Archibeque knocked a single past short, Young scored to make it 4-3.

Muscato rapped an infield single to load the bases and Jeremiah Lucero’s walk pushed Yruegas across to tie the game.

Elder statesman Anthony Gonzales reached on an error to score Archibeque with the go-ahead run before Trevon Dickson clubbed a two-out single to pad Clovis’ lead.

Archibeque picked up the pitching win, with the catcher Rubio coming from behind the plate to close it out.

Finally, a positive step for Clovis with some momentum to go with it. And the Wildcats will likely need the latter as they plunge headlong into this weekend’s Cleveland Tournament in Rio Rancho, beginning Thursday against host Cleveland. Belen and Piedra Vista will follow Friday and Saturday, respectively.

“All three of ’em are going to be pretty tough,” Cruce said. “We haven’t seen Belen or P.V. this year yet, but they’re both solid programs year in, year out.”


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